By: Tamora Pierce
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: October 2011
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: October 2011
Fans will be excited to receive this book, and absolutely heartbroken that this amazing YA fantasy world has come to an end. The first book, Terrier, was brilliant, offering readers a look at a heroine named Beka Cooper; a young woman with a great deal of heart and soul who battled criminals in the depths of the hard-edged Lower City. Along came Bloodhound, where Beka moved her way up in the ranks as a truly amazing fighter and joined the Provost’s Guard (A.K.A. Provost Dog’s). That was the last anyone heard of her in 2009, but now this brilliant writer brings readers into a story where Beka must deal with a crime, a loss, and guilt over a love that never quite came true.
At the beginning of our story, Holdon is gone. Beka and Holdon were engaged, ready to walk down the aisle, when Holdon did an incredibly brave and stupid thing and ran into a fight with no backup to prove, perhaps, that he was a better warrior than Beka. However, Beka doesn’t feel the sadness she should. Because, quite frankly, she was about to end her relationship with Holdon right before he died. The guilt that runs through her for not feeling angrier about the death of her betrothed is what is eating Beka up inside.
But before she has time to really deal with it all, in the middle of the night her lord Gershom appears at her door, and with no information, tells her to pack her things. They are headed out on a Hunt of secretive proportions. So Beka, without a word, brings Achoo (her scent dog who can literally find anything), her cat, Pounce, who is far more than a cat and gives her information that only a ‘god’ would know, and follows the lord out into the night.
Reaching the docks, Beka, her partner, Tunstall, and Gershom, are the small team that boards one of the Crown’s most precious super-fast vessels, and fly across the sea to the Blue Harbor, finding themselves at the Summer Palace of Their Majesty’s. There, they discover the royal guards pasty white and shaking, and a true landscape of death.
Meeting up with a mage called Master Farmer, the secret is revealed that Beka’s team must work for the King and Queen in secret to find something that is more precious to the kingdom than anything else. Working with this odd mage, Beka’s team must investigate everything from slave ships and slave traders to whether or not the mages, themselves, have begun an uprising because of the taxes and laws that the King has put into effect.
As always, this author has created a fantasy world at every turn, and the pages come alive with locales and characters that the reader will not believe. And, in the end, Ms. Pierce has made sure to wrap up this trilogy with beauty, adventure, excitement, and a huge lesson to be learned!
Quill Says: Tamora Pierce saved the best for last.